Integrity and Mindfulness: A Father’s Special Brew of Squirrel Pee Tea – I-Open

I hope you enjoy this piece I wrote for

Integrity and Mindfulness: A Father’s Special Brew of Squirrel Pee Tea – I-Open.

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Troublemakers and Pain

One of many struggles people deal with when considering the question, ‘is there a god’ is the question of pain. Pain can register from minor social irritants like the loud neighbors next door to homelessness, the ravages of death and disease.  

Some people reason that all pain is necessary and has benefit.  Pema Chodron, a Buddhist nun and teacher in the Shambhala tradition,in the Tibetan tradition,  says that in the vaJiana tradition of Buddhism your teacher becomes your biggest trouble maker.  The idea is these irritants reveal chinks in the armor so to speak.

Pema Chodron “Troublemakers”

 Does all pain have value if one knows how to leverage it? Do we value the human irritants in our lives or shun them? Part of a healthy meditation regimen is bringing your ‘third eye’ to bear on uncomfortableness in yourself.  Do your experiences bare this out or not agree?  What about pain inflicted by war or natural disasters, necessary and fruitful? To those of you that are perhaps Buddhist initiates or laymen forgive me for not talking about what Buddhism says and for making pain and suffering synonymous.

Your thoughts?

Once in the early 80s when I managed a Howard Johnson restaurant in New Jersey, I had inherited a very good staff that got along with each other for the most part and were kind of on auto pilot.

At one point a young man interviewed to be a waiter.  Spencer had big strawberry blond curly hair and had the biggest attitude I’d seen in a while.  He was FLAMING gay, and a white boy, ‘girlfren’ neck jerk, two snaps up down hands on hip, ‘I ain’t the one’ in your face individual,.

I hired him on the spot and others just “knew” at some  point upper management would fire me for this.  If upper management got there noses out of joint they never said anything so my sense is they didn’t.  At first he was a novelty to some of the managers on my staff but later on he was just good and fun.

Man, Spencer turned that restaurant upside down and inside out especially Peggy. Peggy was probably 60 years old, a career server, and a devout fundamentalist Christian, as was I.  Well after this she didn’t think I was, lol.

I should have had a badge for Spencer, ‘I push buttons,’ or something.  I had to suggest to him time-outs, shut down cat fights, constantly cool off Peggy and others too.

The other side of Spencer?  Spencer was very professional on the floor, conscientious, and one of the most talented people person, food delivering waiters I’ve ever seen in the ten or so years I was in food service. He had a great sense of humor, used the word ‘bitch’ a bit too much, and seemed to accepted others, and didn’t hold a grudge.  Spencer was an authentic person and I am so glad I hired him.

The culture of the staff improved, he was a great salesperson and other’s sales went up.  One or two _maybe_ because they weren’t gonna let ‘that fag’ outsell them but mostly because of his example and egging them on.

Parenthetically, a note about top down management.  The homophobe thing had very little traction because it wasn’t a part of me, I detested it, I was at the top of the ‘foodchain’ and that’s what went downhill. That’s why when a law suit brought against Denny’s restaurants claiming racism  ‘proved’ in court the issue was pervasive, not isolated I assumed, it was a top down attitude from management. I haven’t eaten at Denny’s since.

A poem from an irritant.

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The G.M.O. Boycott List

See on Scoop.itThe New Liberation Theology

Food companies that are secretly involved in genetic engineering, including some health companies.

Cavana Faithwalker‘s insight:

Another type of boycott is label reading.  One becomes empowered by knowing what is in a product.  One makes a decision about what to do. You can gradually ween yourself off of deadly super duper sucrose and other artificial sweetners and deadly sugar derivatives. Some won’t have to ween and will be able to drop products like the bad habits they are.

In order to do the boycott effectively I will have to take a list with me when I go shopping… Guess I’ll get it lamenated.

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The G.M.O. Boycott List

See on Scoop.itThe New Liberation Theology

Food companies that are secretly involved in genetic engineering, including some health companies.

See on

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Heckraiser! Because Hellrazer Was Taken…: Incremental Change

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Cavana Faithwalker‘s insight:

Incremental change technology.

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Weeping Jesus strikes again

See on Scoop.itThe New Liberation Theology

The number one “instinct” of organizations (which I believe the U.S. and most of the world consider legal persons) and people is self preservation.  (Atheist charged with blasphemy in Mumbai.)

Cavana Faithwalker‘s insight:

These poor people im Mumbai and probably all over the world are mislead. So often religion is at odds with truth and physical evidence.  Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.  Of course it doesn’t mean just widows and orphans but at the time and in the place this was written these two groups held the most helpless of society; I doubt that it is much different in 2013.

All organizations be they churches, temples, mosques, social service agencies or governments are oganizations that work against the good of human kind out of human and organizational nature.  The number one “instinct” of organizations (which I believe the U.S. and most of the world consider  legal persons) and people is self preservation.

Once a church forms we must realize, the church it self must acknowledge that it puts its existence and comfort ahead of worshipping (upholding) the Life, the Way, the Truth.

Governments put self preservation ahead of the common good of the people en mass that they serve.

It is up to all individuals to see this and realize individuals do the same thing.  Once we realize this we can balance it against our actions on behalf of others.  Next step the more we realize that we are all one then we find ourselves being holistically healthy so as to benefit others.  Then we will see that a huge part of our own self preservation, happiness and wholeness hinges on giving, loving and meeting the needs of others.  We will see we have needs that others need to fill.

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Dec. 17 Updates on Connecticut Shooting Aftermath

See on Scoop.itTheory of Everything

 in the aftermath of the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.

Where Do We Go From Here Where Do We Start?

 The NRA takes down their facebook page.

             Our national sickness expressed itself once again in Connecticut and garnered national attention.  It expressed itself a few weeks ago in Cleveland Heights as the community met to deal with elementary school kids being forcibly robbed of school Ipads.  No one died but it’s the same issue.  Before that our sick country screamed out in pain through Anthony Sowell in East Cleveland, Ohio.  No one was shot but it’s the same issue.   Just recently again America screamed “I am sick!” through two deaths and 137 unanswered shots fired again in East Cleveland.  Trayvon Martin told us we have a problem some of us are comfortable not listening.

Mixed signals fill the airways with President Obama suggesting that he would do all with in his presidential power to effect meaningful action as the White House spokesman was not so quick to commit officially saying, “It’s complicated.”  This clearly suggests there should be no mass sigh of relief that gun control is handled at the presidential level.

We have to do it, start anywhere after you start at home in your own head, heart, spirit, and body.  What personal commitments will you, have you made as of today to perfect your internal world and direct it toward peace, whatever that means to you?

A few weeks ago Michael Dunn a 45 year-old gun collector and software engineer overcome by dis-ease felt obliged to shoot at least 8 shots into a car with unarmed black teenagers killing one 17 year old because their music was too loud.  He was standing his ground in Florida…

There should be a public outcry of 1968 civil rights proportions until stand your ground laws in Florida and elsewhere are change and politicians who support the law are removed from office and to court room on public endangerment charges.   “The Florida version of the law passed in 2005. While the legislation provides no clear definition of what constitutes a threat, it allows people to use deadly force if they feel threatened regardless of whether they can safely leave the scene,” according to Huh what, regardless of whether they can safely leave the scene?!  More people are going to die and fewer people will be brought to justice.

A study by John Roman, a senior fellow at the Urban Institute’s Justice Policy Center, found that Stand Your Ground laws tend to track the existing racial disparities in homicide convictions across the U.S. — with one significant exception: Whites who kill blacks in Stand Your Ground states are far more likely to be found justified in their killings. In non-Stand Your Ground states, whites are 250 percent more likely to be found justified in killing a black person than a white person who kills another white person; in Stand Your Ground states, that number jumps to 354 percent.  What else can be done?

Close to home

I’ve personally seen all of the Godfather movies, CSI, my share of Law and Order Criminal Intent, Good Fellahs, my all time favorite, Revolver and I’m kinda found of mixed martial arts.  The harm I think it has done to me is desensitizing me.  It has not made me violent. I’d say it’s not in me but I think everyone has the capacity and my past media diet would take exception.

I’ve made a commitment to not make gratuitous violence a major part of my diet and stopped watching television over a year ago. Even though I have seen a difference for many years I have many times made the determination that taking on the violence was worth it, for instance, like with the movie Revolver; possibly a pure justification.  I’ve changed my language to be more logical and less antagonistic, more exchange and less confrontation. I strive more to be heard and understood than to win arguments and make people see my way; respectively I seek to listen and understand others. I don’t always get it right.

As I direct attention internally I express it externally through interaction with others, through writing and through what I support.  I’m willing to go out. I will be asking groups I work with if there is something we can do short term and long term.  I will be asking writers I know what they think they should do.  I will be trying to sustain an effort of some sort for a year.

There have been over 30 shootings since Columbine in 1999.  Since 2004 when Mr. Obama took office he has resisted doing anything about the laws stating enforcing current laws was what was needed.  Now in the face of mounting pressure the president seems to be reassessing this stance.  Part of Australia’s fix was to buy back guns. What can be done to not only support any effort toward gun reform but to change the entire cynical malaise of this country?

Make plans, something you can start doing right now also and then something long range that may take preparation.  Join in with someone some group you may not have to reinvent the wheel. We need to walk each other toward a peaceful spirit and put pressure on local and national leaders.

The National Firearms Agreement of Australia — reached among the political parties less than two weeks after a gunman killed 35 people and injured 23 at a Tasmanian seaside resort — cut firearm homicide by 59% over the next two decades and firearms suicide by 74%, the report showed.

The law banned semiautomatic and automatic rifles and shotguns and put in place a mandatory buy-back program for newly banned weapons.

The buyback led to the destruction of 650,000 guns, the Sunshine Coast Daily reported.  That would be like the US destroying 40 million guns.  Currently there is an average of 88 weapons per 100 people according to the Pew Research Center.

Embrace and Assert What We Already Do More Toward a More Civil Society- things we might consider, a list.

There are so many things that already happen if we could embrace them more and make them central to our everyday comings and goings I believe it will change things.

Specific to mass gun shootings social media mavens replace your profile pic with a no guns sign or the like once a month for the next year.

You know a blogger or an opinion maker or someone like a musician who has access to lots of people?  Challenge them to cover gun violence, nonviolence, civil discourse, a kinder gentler work place or whatever once a month for the next year.

Are you a community group or head of a school that could pass out statistics about violence and bullying to students and parents, show a movie that deals with the issue, make it a family night? Pass out stats about gun violence in neighborhoods door to door where resources are limited.

It is better to feel good than to look good. Many organizations have things in place they could perhaps turn toward our national illness such as the Cleveland Museum of Art.  They have a program in which you catch your colleagues doing something right and out side of what their job description says, report it and HR recognizes them.  Could your school or organization adapt and use this program? Find out more?  The Cleveland Museum of Art Director of HR Sharon Reaves;


Random acts of kindness and Pass it forward. Who can’t do these with a vengeance?


Practicing patience while driving

Changing one’s language from insulting to understanding.

Are there people who think this is a bunch of nonsense? Sure there are.  Let’s get their ideas.  Where do you stand? What are your ideas?

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